Tristyn Zarubiak of the Red Deer Rampage dives across the crease in Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League Tier 1 Junior B play on Friday night at the Kinex. Red Deer beat the Edmonton Warriors 10-1 in their home opener. (Photo by Byron Hackett/Advocate Staff)

With Founders’ Cup hopes, Rampage dominate in opener

Red Deer Rampage head coach Trey Christensen is looking for defence first this season, but Friday exceeded expectations in more ways than one.

The Rampage scored a 10-1 victory in their home opener of Rocky Mountain Lacrosse league Tier 1 Junior B season at the Kinex Friday against the Edmonton Warriors.

“We’ve usually been a defense first team but this year, it usually takes some time to find your identity,” Christensen said. “We’re still a defence first team but we definitely have a lot more offensive fire power than we did last year.”

The Rampage continued their winnings ways with an 11-4 drubbing of Crude Lacrosse Club on Sunday. Logan Clarkson and Kaden Christensen each had two goals while Brody Tod, Tristyn Zarubiak, Elijah Johanson, Teren Christensen, Nate Belanger, Carter Copland Blair and Devin Sheridan each added one.

Long-term, after a second place league finish last year and third in the province, Christensen has high hopes for his young squad that was really just cutting their teeth in the league last season.

“At the end of the day, we have a pretty good group. For us this year it’s nationals or bust. We feel if we play our game we can play with anybody,” the head coach said.

Christensen is in just his second season working with the Rampage said after a full year with the club, he likes the development he has seen already.

“We were really young last year, towards the end we really started to click,” Christensen said. “Last year the guys we’re just finding themselves and getting used to me. Now we know a lot more about what to expect and what to prepare for. Understand it’s a long season and we know what we’re looking at for.”

Youth is still being served for the Red Deer squad that was one of the youngest in the league last year, but with most teams losing five or more players, Christensen added they want more after breakout season in 2016. Being a young team is an advantage year-to-year, but there’s lots of room to grow as well.

“It’s one thing if you make a mistake, but if you turn the ball over – there’s a bad time to turn it over. Just momentum things. Things that come with maturity and playing the game for a longer period of time,” Christensen said. “Plus the kids have been hitting the gym so they’ve put on a bit of weight. Guys are taking conditioning very seriously, they want to be the best in shape team in the league.”

The Rampage have been training since early January and played a few exhibition games to build some chemistry but ultimately are just ready to get into some game action.

The next home game for the Rampage is Sunday, May 7 at 5:30 p.m. at the Kinex.

byron.hackett@bprda.wpengine.com

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